2.03.2016

IWSG - February 2016

The first Wednesday of every month is the Insecure Writer's Support Group, which was started by the ninja-captain himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Check out the IWSG page to see the list of others who participate (or to join!).

Well, I'm making good progress on the goals I set out in January! My short story for submission needs one more rewrite and a couple beta readers to tell me what they think, and then that will be good to go. And my writing group is tackling one of my manuscripts for each of the next three meetings, so hopefully that will give me some ideas and a rekindling of passion for the project that I can use to try to actually finish it!

I also got my Independently Published Authors Liaison membership through the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers this month. So that's fun :)

I've been reading The Paris Wife, which is about Hemingway's first wife Hadley. It's a beautifully written novel and I highly recommend it. But it's also providing me with a little discomfort, which has been interesting. Hemingway is depicted (as, I think, are many prolific/successful artists) as being wholly, life-consumingly, devoted to his art.

I guess this is a variation on the oft-bemoaned modern frustration with not being able to just do art.. But, I very rarely feel totally consumed by what I am writing. Certainly not to the exclusion of my relationships (or food!). But when I had the time, I didn't lose myself in my writing either. I had six months last summer to dedicate to writing, and while I learned a lot and did get some stuff done, it wasn't like I was obsessive. Does that make me less of a writer? Mean there's less chance that I have what it might take to be successful? Or is it merely a reflection of having more facets to my self than just my writer identity?

Not really sure what the answers to those questions are.. But there they are.

How are y'all doing this month?


1.25.2016

2016 April A-Z Challenge sign-ups are OPEN!!

Friends, it is one of my favorite times of the year! Sign-ups for the April A-Z Blogging Challenge are open! This will be my fifth year participating in the Challenge and I am so excited to start.

We have some awesome things in store for y'all this year including a newsletter and more #atozchat madness on Twitter, so stay tuned :)

But first, if you want to participate, you need to sign up! The official instructions are as follows:

Please read and follow the sign-up instructions outlined below so you sign onto the list correctly!

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day. 

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends. For more details and its history, go HERE

We recommend short posts, turn off Word Verification, and visit five blogs (or more) a day beginning with the one after yours on the list. 

Blogs must be on an open platform – no Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. – and comments enabled. Please make it easy for visitors to comment on your blog.

To streamline legitimate blogs from advertisement blogs, the Co-Hosts will be visiting each blog on this list throughout the Challenge. Once the Challenge begins, blogs showing no activity or those that miss five days in a row will be removed. 

Please note your blog name and number in all correspondences. Remember that as blogs are removed, your number WILL change. 

There are categories for those looking for like-minded blogs. Select ONE category code and enter it after your blog’s title/name. The code applies to your blog, not your theme for the Challenge and is purely optional. See the first few blogs on the list for examples. However, if your blog has adult content, you MUST mark it (AC) or it will be removed from the list. Codes are as follows: 

ANIMALS: (AN) 
BOOKS/REVIEWS: (BO) 
CRAFTS/ART: (CT) 
CULINARY: (CU) 
EDUCATION/SCIENCE: (ES) 
ENTERTAINMENT: (ET) 
GAMING: (GA) 
HISTORY/MYTHOLOGY: (HM) 
HUMOR: (HU) 
LIFESTYLE/SOCIAL: (LS ) 
PERSONAL: (PR) 
PHOTOGRAPHY: (PH)
POETRY: (PO) 
TRAVEL: (TR) 
WRITING/STORYTELLING/MEMOIR: (WR) 
ADULT CONTENT: (AC) 

Be sure to grab the badge and display it in your sidebar so we know you are participating and link to the A to Z Challenge Blog.

For more information we recommend you follow the A to Z Challenge Blog and the hosts: 

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Heather M. Gardner
Jeremy @ Hollywood Nuts
AJ Lauer
Pam Margolis @ An Unconventional Librarian
Damyanti Biswas @ Daily Write
Zalka Csenge VirĂ¡g @ The Multicolored Diary
Joy Campbell @ The Character Depot
John Holton @The Sound of One Hand Typing

We also have a Facebook Page
Email address is contactatozteam@gmail.com
Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z, with weekly chats at #atozchat

Sign up below and join us for a month of alphabet fun!
(When you sign up, you agree to receive A to Z related emails.)



1.06.2016

IWSG - January 2016

It's IWSG day. The one day of the month that I will always try to post, give updates, etc.

I don't have too much to say. My last post I said I don't do New Year's resolutions. These aren't really New Year's resolutions so much as just things I need to get done, but here are my two that I'd like to make happen in 2016:

  1. Write a short story and submit it to an anthology (this is in progress, actually).
  2. Finish one of my works in progress. There are three. I just want to get one written and edited and ready for submission.
Bonus pie in the sky boy it sure would be nice if... goal: finally independently publish Sky Pirates. There's a lot to do to make this happen, but it is such a great project, I'd just really love to get it done and out there for the world to enjoy!

What are you up to this year?

12.31.2015

2015 retrospective

You know how sometimes you look at a period of time and think "how did I make it through that?" ..that's how I feel about a lot of 2015. To say that this year has been a rollercoaster would be an understatement. It's been more like a ride on a tornado - alternating between exhilarating freedom and having flying objects violently smashed into my head.

To recap: Being bullied, lied to and gaslighted at work. Quitting my job, and as a result leaving my chosen field - possibly forever. A six month writing sabbatical. Unexplained infertility. Wildly successful April A-Z (click to read the novella I wrote that month!). Meeting the incredible ladies in my writing group - the Charming Characters. The entire month of June was pure bliss. And then there was the #AMEshooting. I ran my first half marathon, went on backpacking trips at Lumpy Ridge, and Mt. Zirkel, and Maroon Bells, and Lawn Lake. Six months later, still having post-traumatic stress symptoms from the old job BS. Had an editor request a full manuscript of one of my novels! Got a cool new job. Figuring out how to be awesome at new job, but also dealing with feeling like I abandoned my writing dreams for a steady paycheck.

I've never really liked the New Year Resolutions thing. I make a lot of resolutions throughout the year. Why limit myself to what I can imagine for the year at the beginning of it? If I did that I wouldn't have run my half marathon :) I much prefer the retrospective, introspective approach of looking at what I've learned and/or realized:

Solace in movement. Strength of my marriage. Joy in writing. Appreciation of learning opportunities, teachers, incredibly supportive friends and family. So many reminders of resilience - that I have it, and how to use it. Patience while breathing. Patience while waiting. Patience with emotions, doctors, medications, my body, my writing. Patience with myself for not being patient enough. Creativity. And a teensy weensy little bit of learning how to let it all go.

This year I've spent a lot of time (and running and hiking miles) trying to figure out who I am and where I belong in this world. There have been some nasty surprises and failures, but also some successes. I'll settle for 2016 being a rollercoaster. Or, ya know, a chill year would be really great. Regardless, here's to a year of more miles, mountains, and making up stories.

And more of this. Definitely more of this. Mt. Zirkel, CO. July 2015.

10.07.2015

IWSG - October

Insecure Writers Support Group is a monthly opportunity for writers to support one another, gripe, whine, cheer, and jeer about this crazy thing we do. It was created by Alex J Cavanaugh, and this month's super-fab co-hosts are: TB MarkinsonTamara NarayanEva E. SolarShannon Lawrence, and Stephanie Faris.  

So... I started a new job a few weeks ago. Awesome! I had a lovely six months of sabbatical, during which I learned so much about writing. Craft, and business, and found a writing group. Fantastic. During that time I started gearing my blogging more toward writing-centric topics, because that's what I was doing at the time, and it's what I'd heard people (fans?) enjoy reading - about the process, where you're at with writing, etc.

And I started dreading writing blog posts.

Not my IWSG posts, because those are more about connecting with other writers. But the ones about what I was up to and how my writing was going, and interesting tips or things I'd learned? Ehhhhhh... Not that I don't care about those things, but I don't seem to care to write about those things. And so my blogging slowed.

And then, the weekend before I started my job, I attended a writing conference. Awesome! Met incredible people, learned a lot, watched a gal from my new writing group place in the top five of a competition. So great. I pitched one of my novels to an editor and she requested a full manuscript.

Holy. Crap. Let me say that again - she requested a full manuscript. Not just the first couple chapters. The Whole Thing. So freaking amazing! I never in a million years imagined that my first ever-in-my-life pitch would result in a request for the full manuscript.

Said manuscript is currently in a first-draft pantsed version that is in no way ready to be seen by an editor, agent, or anyone else.

I'd rather write about places like this than about writing,
ya know? (This is from our Mt. Zirkel trip in July)
So for the last three weeks I've been getting accustomed to my new job, schedule, etc, trying desperately to figure out how in the heck I am going to edit the pantsed beast I have on my hands, and utterly ignoring my blog.

I've made a decision. I'm going back to my blog being about whatever random thing I want to write about - recipes, hiking photos, thoughts on current events. If people want to hear about writing progress they can sign up for my email list. Hopefully this will mean that blogging goes back to being a fun thing, and I can feel less anxiety about writing as a whole.

And then maybe between now and next IWSG I will have something written on my blog that isn't just about how much I suck at blogging.

What do you do when you've lost focus on your blogging or other writing? Any fun accomplishments lately?

9.04.2015

Just sent my monthly newsletter!

I just sent my monthly newsletter to folks on my email list.

Have you joined yet? Are you missing out on the fun? I use my list to send special updates, promotions, and stories about my writing journey.

Click here to join the list (I only write once per month - promise!) and to receive your FREE copy of Percy's Armageddon: Pick Your Plot Prequel as a welcome gift.

Have a great long weekend, everyone :)